Last week we joined forces with 80 volunteers, most being Yamaha employees and their family and friends, along with members of the San Bernardino National Forest Association (SBNFA) to restore one of the areas most used off-highway vehicle (OHV) staging areas, Cactus Flats. For the second year in a row at Cactus Flats, and their 5th in the San Bernardino National Forest (SBNF), Yamaha gathered a great group of people who took time out of their lives to come up and give back to the land that helps keep businesses like theirs and ours alive. On this day our goal was to plant 250 native shrubs, spread seeds from existing shrubbery, slash non-authorized trails and water existing shrubs from last years event. With the hard work and determination, all of the tasks were completed in a few hours.
The SBNF sees approximately 2.4 million visitors each year, more than any other National Forest, and Cactus Flats is one of the most popular staging areas for OHV enthusiasts and provides access to some of the best trails in Southern California. Even as our group worked away digging holes, planting and gathering wood to deter riders from making new trails, there was a steady stream coming in the access road to use the very spot we were there to improve. This just went to show that our efforts to improve this staging area were going to be appreciated in the future.
To show their appreciation to everyone that volunteered, Yamaha brought out a semi loaded with a full line of ATV’s and Rhino SxS’s that everyone would be able to take out on guided rides through the trails we were there to help preserve. The icing on the cake was a great lunch of BBQ’d burgers and hot dogs and a raffle that included shirts, sunglasses, a Yamaha iPod speaker dock and GoPro action camera. Not only did everyone have a great time, but they also had a chance to take something home other than a great sense of accomplishment.
“Yamaha is dedicated to the OHV community and has contributed thousands of volunteer hours and more than $2 million since 2008 to the mission of supporting safe, responsible riding and open, sustainable riding areas,” said Mike Martinez, general manager of Yamaha’s ATV/SxS operations and an SBNFA board member who volunteered alongside his son over the weekend. “Yamaha employees are passionate about their volunteer efforts here in Southern California. We understand that these OHV areas are important to our customers and our business, and it means a lot to us personally to help keep these areas in good shape for current and future generations.”
It’s not only through organizing site cleanups like this that Yamaha helps to preserve our riding lands, but they also have one of the best grant programs in the business with their OHV Access Initiative. The Yamaha ATV/SxS group administers the company’s OHV Access Initiative, a program that aggressively supports the OHV community across the country providing quarterly GRANTs to non-profit riding groups and organizations. Details, award schedules and applications are available at www.yamahaohvaccess.com.
We’d like to say thank you to Yamaha for inviting us out to this event and work alongside their employees and families. Through this we were able to see that they care about the industry they work in and that being at Yamaha was more than just a job.